Les automobiles de Besançon 1900-1930

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by Marc Douazy. d’Ollandon/Raymond Bernier.

This is an unusual but excellent book about the automobiles and races that originated in the Besançon district of France. Serious students of French cars and their history should welcome it. Particular attention is paid to the Th Schneider and Ravel marques and contests such as the 1912 Tour de France, that year’s Coupe de L’Auto race, Le Circuit des Ardennes, Mont Ventoux, the GP de France, San Sebastian Rallye, later Grands Prix and so on.

This full-size, 158-page, stiff-cover book contains a wealth of historic photographs, poster reproductions, paintings, factory interiors, advertising material and specifications, and is the only work I know that comprehensively covers the Th Schneider and Ravel cars. There is still more that could be disclosed; the Ravel text is rather patchy, but the pictures make up for this. Some Th Schneider data has come from Motor Sport articles, but the short-lived double-sleeve-valve engine is described and the 1913 GP-type Th Schneider of Roger Firth is included. It is very nicely produced, with many full-page illustrations. The text is in French but a soft-cover English translation of 58 pages, with fewer but fascinating pictures, is also available. These can be obtained for FF 225.00 (around £27) and FF 30.00 (circa £3.50), postage-paid, from Marc Douey, 9 rue des Fruits 91600, Sauigny, France. Money orders will only be accepted if they are payable in francs, W B